A Travel Price Comparison for Greece Ios vs. Hydra for Nightlife, Beaches, Couples, and Backpackers

Should you visit Ios or Hydra?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Ios or Hydra? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.


Ios is a vibrant, beautiful, and striking island. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. It's also known for food, scuba diving and snorkeling, and beaches.


Hydra is a charming, accessible, and quaint island. This is a great small town that is just waiting to be explored. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and food.

Ios and Hydra: Pros and Cons

  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Impressive beauty
  • Less family-friendly
  • Less walkable
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Very walkable
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less attractive beach
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Public transit not as usable

Is there more to do in Ios or Hydra?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Hydra. Although Ios and Hydra are popular destinations, Hydra has more sights and attractions for tourists. Hydra is very popular for its museums, historical sights, hiking, shopping, and small town charm, while Ios attracts visitors for its food, nightlife, resorts, and beaches. Ios is famous for its party hard atmosphere that attracts a younger and rowdier crowd. Hydra is famous for its picturesque setting, car-free setting, and beautiful old town. It is also well known for The Monastery of the Assumption of Virgin Mary.

How is Ios different from Hydra?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Hydra and Ios. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Ios or Hydra?


Hydra is notable for its sights and museums. Also, Ios is not as famous, but is still a good island to visit for its museums and history.

Hydra offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. For such a small island, there are many local museums and sights. Highlights include the Historical Archives Museum, the Ecclesiastical Museum, the Monastery of Agia Efpraxia, and the Monastery of Prophet Elias.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Ios. If you can pull yourself away from the beaches or parties, there are a number of archaeological and historic sights around the island. Churches like Panayia Gremiotissa Church and Evangelisimos Cathedral are worth visiting. Other attractions include Odysseas Elytis Theatre, Homer’s Tomb, and Skarkos Hill.

Is the Food Better in Ios or Hydra? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?


Ios is a great destination for its restaurant scene. Also, Hydra is still popular, but not quite as popular for its local flavors and cuisine.

With its innovative style combined with traditional elements, Ios makes for a great culinary experience. Most of the island's restaurants are found in the port area or in the town of Chora, but you'll also find several options near Mylopotas Beach. Most restaurants offer typical Greek dishes, but they often have a local twist. You'll often find local cheeses or a slightly different take on an old favorite. Popular ingredients include cheese, yogurt, fish, olives, honey, olive oil, and grains. Common meats include lamb, beef, and even rabbit, but seafood is obviously popular as well.

Hydra has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. For such a small island, it really packs in some great restaurants. Head down the side streets to find the best souvlaki. There are also tavernas where you can sample local wine. Fresh caught seafood is a favorite on the island as well.

Is Ios or Hydra Better for Nightlife?


Ios is a world-class destination for nightlife. However, Hydra is a island with minimal options for nightlife and partying.

People head to Ios just to party. This is one of the quintessential party islands in Greece. Many young backpackers come here just to party, particularly during the summer months. You'll find many parties start around midnight or later and carry on well into the morning. Most of the clubs and bars are around the main square and nearby streets in Chora, but there are also clubs spread throughout the town. Outside of town, Mylopotas Beach is another popular party area.

Hydra doesn't have the most active nightlife scene. It's a small island that is often visited as a day trip, so don't expect a huge party scene. There are about seven places in total that make up the island's nightlife scene. Each is centered around the harbor and many people start their evening at one bar and slowly hop around. They usually have DJs and full bars.

Is Ios or Hydra Better for Resorts?


Ios is a great destination for its resorts. Also, Hydra is still popular, but not quite as popular for its luxury resorts.

Ios is known as a popular and fun resort destination. There are a number of resort areas around the island with families preferring the areas around Yialos Beach and Manganari Beach. Partiers usually head to Chora and the great beaches near Mylopotas, but if you want to escape the crowds, head to Agia Theodoti.

With a selection of resorts, Hydra makes a nice vacation spot. It's a popular day trip destination, but if you stay for a night or two, you'll find boutique hotels and charming pensions.

Is Ios or Hydra Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?


There's nice scuba diving or snorkeling available in both Ios and Hydra.

Ios has a few good snorkeling spots. There are some nice snorkeling and diving areas around the island as well as vendors who organize snorkeling and dive trips.

It's worth going snorkeling or scuba diving in Hydra. There are some snorkeling spots around the island - most notably Bisti Beach, which is pebbly and has some interesting sea life.

Is Ios or Hydra Better for Beaches?


Ios is a world-class destination for its beaches. Also, Hydra is still popular, but not quite as popular for the beache.

Travelers come from around the world to visit the beaches in Ios. The island has beautiful sandy beaches that range from family-friendly to party hard. There are popular and more developed beaches near Chora like Koumbara and Mylopotas as well as more relaxing beaches a little more removed like Kalamos and Manganari. Because of their striking beauty, the beaches around the island have been featured in a few films.

Many people head to Hydra to enjoy the beach. The beaches are usually pebbly with nice blue water. Many people visit the beaches as part of a boat tour, which leaves from the port and tours the island. Some of the most popular beaches are Vlichos, Kaminia, Bisti and Agios Nikolaos.

Is Ios or Hydra Better for its Old Town?


Hydra is notable for its old town. However, Ios does not have a historic old town.

Many visitors explore the old town while visiting Hydra. With no cars and plenty of charm, the island's old town feels as if you've stepped back in time. Donkey pulled carts and quaint streets give this town its atmosphere.

Ios does not have a historic old town.

Is Ios or Hydra Better for Hiking?


Hydra is notable for the nearby hiking options. Also, Ios is not as famous, but is still a good island to visit for its hiking trails.

Hydra is a popular spot for hiking. The island is filled with walking paths and donkey trails that are fun to explore. Some walk along the sea and offer spectacular views while others take you inland through the hills.

Many people include a hike when visiting Ios. The island has a barren and rocky landscape that offers spectacular views. Many of the hikes are quite challenging, but there are a few options for beginners as well. Many also pass by the spectacular ruins around the island.

Is the Shopping Better in Ios or Hydra?


Hydra is notable for its shopping opportunities. Also, Ios is not as famous, but is still a good island to visit for its shopping areas.

Hydra is a popular shopping destination with plenty of stores. Charming shops fill the town and sell local items such as handmade jewelry and traditional embroideries.

Ios has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. There are a number of local souvenirs that you can pick up. Many visitors prefer to take home unique items such as a tin of olives or olive oil. Jewelry, honey, and local ceramics also make good gifts.

Is Ios or Hydra Better for Families?


Hydra is notable for its family-friendly activities. However, Ios is a mediocre island for its kid-friendly activities.

Hydra is a very kid-friendly island. The island feels like it's frozen in time. There are no cars allowed here, so kids can run freely without the worry of traffic. They'll be as fascinated as you are by the carts pulled by donkeys. Most things you'll visit are also close together, making accessibility easy. In addition to some interesting museums, there are beaches and kid-friendly food. The whole island really is a playground.

Ios is not always a place people visit with their families. While the island is known as one of the top party destinations in Greece, it also has a more cultural side. There are impressive archaeological ruins and stunning beaches that kids will enjoy. The island also has snorkeling and plenty of kid-friendly food. Some of the best family-friendly beaches are in Manganari Bay and Yialos Beach is a nice family-friendly area.

Is Ios or Hydra Better for Couples?


Hydra is very popular for its romantic activities. Also, Ios is not as famous, but is still a good island to visit for couples.

Hydra makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. This beautiful island makes a great honeymoon or couple's destination. Most visitors come as a day trip, but spending a night or two on the island is a unique experience. It has a laid back vibe and is filled with romance. The food is amazing, and the traditional atmosphere will make you feel as if you've traveled back in time.

Ios makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Because it's so close to Santorini, many people visit as a day trip. While the island is synonymous with partying, there are still many world-class archaeological sites and romantic beaches that make for an active and fun honeymoon. It's a bit quieter outside of the peak summer months.

Is Ios or Hydra Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?


Ios is a world-class destination for backpackers. However, Hydra is a island with minimal options for backpackers and budget travelers.

Ios is a mecca for backpackers and budget travelers. For many backpackers, partying in Ios is a quintessential European experience. Nights are spent at all night clubs or beach raves, while days are spent nursing a hangover on the beach. There are plenty of venues that cater to the budget crowd, with cheap food available at different places.

Hydra is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. Most people visit the island as a day trip and it doesn't attract nearly as many backpackers as the larger Greek islands. If you visit during the lower season, you might find some affordable accommodation.

Is Ios or Hydra Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?


Ios is a great destination for its public transit. However, Hydra is a island with minimal options for times when you don't have a car.

Many visitors rely on the effecient and affordable public transportation in Ios. There are public buses that travel to most of the tourist sights around the island including several of the more remote beaches like Manganari and Agia Theodoti.

Public transit is mostly limited in Hydra. There are sea taxis and beach boats on the island.

Is Ios or Hydra a more walkable city?


Hydra is very popular for its high level of walkability. Also, Ios is not as famous, but is still a good island to visit for its ease of walking around.

It is easy to get around Hydra on foot. The entire island is car-free and everything that you want to visit is close together and easy to explore on foot.

Ios is a somewhat walkable island. Chora is the most walkable part of the island.

Should I spend more time in Hydra or Ios?

How long in Ios or Hydra?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Ios or Hydra to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Ios than Hydra because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Ios, and 1-2 days is enough time in Hydra.

Families should spend more time in Hydra than Ios. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Hydra, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Hydra than Ios. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Hydra that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Ios than Hydra if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Ios.

  • How many days in Ios or Hydra? Ideal Length of Stay
    Ios 1-3 
    Hydra 1-2

One day in Ios or Hydra?

In Ios, many people enjoy the food and scuba diving and snorkeling that this beautiful destination offers. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. This island offers a variety of activities to choose from. Because of this, one day is usually enough time for a trip here.

Hydra is a small town with plenty to do. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. So, one day is just the right amount of time to spend here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

A weekend in Ios or Hydra?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Ios. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

Many people visit Hydra for a weekend. Hydra might be a small town, but there's plenty to do in the area. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. Because of this, a weekend is usually enough time for a trip here.

Five days in Ios or Hydra?

Ios is a fun place to experience. Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the destination of Ios. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.

Because Hydra is a small town, it's easy to explore in a short amount of time. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. It offers something for everyone. Five days is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.

A week in Ios or Hydra?

You'll find museums and nightlife around the beautiful destination of Ios. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Hydra, a popular island, is full of activities for travelers. Visiting the old town is also a must. Your budget might influence how long you stay. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days.

Which place is cheaper, Hydra or Ios?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Ios is €91, while the average daily cost in Hydra is €97. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Ios and Hydra in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Ios 39
    Hydra 51
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Ios 78
    Hydra 102
Compare Hotels in Ios and Hydra

Looking for a hotel in Ios or Hydra? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Ios

Hotels in Hydra

Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.

Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Ios Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Ios 16
    Hydra 26

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Ios

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Ios:

  • Private Helicopter Transfer from Ios to Athens: $2,903
  • Private Helicopter Transfer from Ios to Mykonos: $1,441
  • Private Helicopter Transfer from Ios to Santorini: $1,301

Is it cheaper to fly into Ios or Hydra?

Prices for flights to both Hydra and Ios change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.

  • Food Meals for one day
    Ios 33
    Hydra 30

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Ios 26
    Hydra 11

Tours and Activities in Ios

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Ios are as follows:

  • Ios Island Trekking Tours: Discover Ios Unexplored: $27
  • Visit and panoramic tour of Santorini Half Day: $76
  • 3/5 Hour Private Chora E-Bike Tours: $108
  • Private Orienteering Experience in Mylopotas: $161
  • Half Day Sunset Sailboat tour (afternoon): $182

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Ios 33
    Hydra 11

When comparing the travel costs between Ios and Hydra, we can see that Hydra is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Europe, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

Which is Bigger, Ios or Hydra?

Hydra is bigger, and its population is about 26% larger than the population of Ios. When comparing the population of Ios vs. Hydra, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit and the activities that interest you.

Budget Your Trip is all about finding out how much everything costs so that you can travel cheaper and longer. Created by avid travelers Laurie and Bryan, our goal is to help you plan your next trip on the right budget. With average daily travel costs that are calculated from the budgets of real travelers, plus an analysis of hotel and tour prices, you can find out how much money you need to plan your next adventure. We also have plenty of travel advice, accommodation reviews, and activity suggestions.
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Ios vs. Hydra Travel Comparison

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